How is Aaron Gwin so fast?

Jun 12, 2012
by Ian Hylands  
People have offered some varying ideas about why Aaron Gwin is so fast, but we wanted to get some proper answers from the source. While at the Fort William World Cup, Pinkbike's Si Paton talked to Trek World Racing's Martin Whitely and Aaron himself to get the full scoop.

TWR team manager Martin Whitely discusses Aaron's eight second win at Val di Sole and gives us a bit of insight into why Aaron is riding so well.

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Aaron Gwin talks about crashing in his qualifying run at Fort William, as well as training and why he thinks he manages to go so much faster than everyone else.

Views: 20,443    Faves: 73    Comments: 6


Video by Charles Robertson


211 Comments

  • + 59
 It's so hard to believe that he's faster than the athertons, peaty, minnar, then though they've been racing 10+ years more than him!
  • + 171
 Some people have a natural talent that others must achieve with years of experience. He is a fantastic and humble athlete. I think, so far, he deserves all of the hype.
  • - 131
flag BrodieBiking (Jun 12, 2012 at 14:50) (Below Threshold)
 Some people catch onto it really quickly! Me and my bud have been riding for about the same amount of time, and he's not as quick as me in some places.

But then again, Aaron trains 24/7 for this, and loves doing it as well
  • + 28
 two wheel genetics, didnt you listen!?
  • + 4
 Honestly, i didn't watch the video. but it's what iv'e been thinking since he started dominating.
  • + 12
 Yeah it's "talent". Nothing to do with big MX and BMX experience which are a great cross training, or with having the best team on the circut not to mention being coached by one of the most analytical pioneers of the sport. I really suggest you read a book Talent is overrated Wink
  • + 29
 i also find it interesting that the last 3 REALLY dominent riders have had very similair personalities. voullioz(sp?), hill, and gwin all have very measured calm personalities. never get too high or too low. dont know if it contributes to their success but just kinda peculiar
  • + 98
 Crack cocaine works for me, perform well on that shit....
  • + 8
 @gravityhelps they just have complete confidence in themselves and they know they don't have to hype themselves or act in anyway to make themselves seem good...because they are f*cking awesome and they feel it.
  • + 46
 Actually pure talent or natural ability at something is hardly overrated. It's a huge benefit that enables some people to be much better at something than others. But drive and desire will usually win out in the end if all you have is talent with no desire to train and win. It's the combination of both natural ability and the drive and desire to win more than anything that makes a true winner...
  • + 4
 Anthony Messere comes to mind as a similar case. Just pure talent fueled by desire. Not a complicated mix but it will only get you so far. You have to credit some of Gwin's success to the training and hard working people that surround his life.
  • + 21
 A lot of the credit needs to go to training and hard work with any success story. It's possible to be successful with only hard work and training, but it's not possible to stay successful with only talent...
  • + 4
 would love to see his training regimen from tomac. aaron and eli are reaching an elite level so consistently it is scary to see how rapid these guys are going. seeing eli @ freestone was impressive.
  • + 1
 I always think about the bike...yes it's not possible that a bike makes the difference of 8 seconds, Fort William was just about 0.3 or so.
But couldn't it be possible that it changes something? On this High-Level everything is quite important and makes the differences.
  • + 5
 i would agree with set-up secrets but not everybody can have a monk vasquez in the pits. monk's resume is as impressive on its own!
  • + 43
 So far everyone has missed it so far. More than any other reason, he is fast because of his parents. If your folks had you clipped in on a BMX mini racing the national circuit, and then a few years later they were hauling you around the national motocross series, supporting you and helping and encouraging you to train, you would be fast too. Good genes help, but in this case it's probably more about doing all that two wheeled racing at a young age along with the humble and disciplined personality nurtured by his parents. Like everyone else, he is a product of his parents DNA, combined with all of the experiences of his life, especially the experiences early in life in the formative years.
  • - 51
flag jonesry (Jun 12, 2012 at 16:22) (Below Threshold)
 USAUSAUSA!
  • + 21
 Your brain controls your muscles. Mental training is the most important aspect of a sport that technically and financially creates the most insecure athletes on the planet. How many "racers" out there can truly say they use the work ethic of timed runs? The stop watch alone in the greatest mental workout tool devised for marque athletes in any sport and yet the total of all lifestyle DH racers measure their habits in emotional practice runs rather then factual numbers on a $25 moto timer.

If your girlfriend breaks up with you before your race run your bike, muscles and kit will do nothing for you. DH is a time trial just like an Olympic sprinter. Olympic athletes measure their performance and that measurement creates memories that the mind can build confidence and security.

The DH rig has a thousand ways to steal your confidence... a stop watch has none.
  • + 5
 I think everyone racing the World Cup has a great amount of two wheels genetics. The difference between how fast these guys are compared to your average downhill local racer is astronomical. Even guys finishing 50th place. Gwin being so much faster than that pack is just mind blowing.
  • + 1
 All these world cup guys love what they do...its how much they enjoy this sport that helps push them to go faster
  • + 4
 why Gwinny so fast?
he's on Auto Cruise mode ....he told that during VDS world cup
  • - 16
flag session99 (Jun 12, 2012 at 17:59) (Below Threshold)
 this one is for brodie biking. if aaron gwin is not as fast as you in some secctions why the f*ck arent you racing world cups then hu?
  • + 4
 @IanHylands - read the book I mentioned. It nicely deconstructs how Tiger Woods, Mozart are not the talent people make them to be or at least not as much but more a product of inteligent training (even if by accident, not on purpose).
I really don't believe your parents gave you the genes to be fast on a push bike or to git a small ball with a stick so it can fall into a hole better. Yes some people have better phisical or mental atributes but they don't correlate 1:1 with performance in given discipline. That's more a factor of experience and I really belive you theoretically could backtrack why Aaron or Hill are so fast.


@MRI production - I think Steave M. on Ridemonkey mentioned that he tested firmer suspension with some people and the average gain was quite a few seconds (5% avg. I think, though I'd have to look it up). That's very close to the margins Gwin wins with and he seems to be running harder suspension than most. The hard part is still keeping traction with it. Well that and your hands not exploding.
  • + 3
 Spaced, the actual gains we were seeing were about half that - roughly 2.7% on a steep, rough trail, averaged over multiple staggered runs with each setting. I don't believe the conclusion to draw from that testing is that "firmer suspension is faster" though, more that bike setup can make a distinct and measurable difference (obviously suspension that is too firm will eventually become slower!). On a ~5 minute track (eg Ft Bill), that's 300 seconds - 3 x 2.7% = 8.1 seconds POTENTIAL difference. I therefore think it's fair to say that there must be some riders in the field who would be faster on a bike/setup other than what they are currently running. Not to take anything away from Gwin at all, he is clearly in a class of his own at the moment - who knows, maybe HIS setup is less than ideal and he'd be smashing the field by even more with a few tweaks to his bike?

Anyway, great interview, the man is a legend. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he ends up with a career track record like Nico!
  • - 1
 @IanHylands
"It's possible to be successful with only hard work and training, but it's not possible to stay successful with only talent.."

well, yes 'n no, mostly no. Absolutely everyone from the WorldDH arena got trained, but the talented only have theirs name print on the covers.

Gwin is a machine!
Like it or not, he is out there to teach the new DH. It only took him a few years and if this is not Talent better become a Hindu.
  • + 6
 I personally think (I've had this theory ever since I saw the Alloutprodux movie "stars and bars," where Gwin makes an appearance moto whipping the CRAP out of a jump), that Gwinny is so damn fast because of his background in Moto. All moto guys gone MTB have a really good sense for going allout, and the technicality of MTB racing seems to fit in really well with the speed of moto.
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Jun 12, 2012 at 23:59) (Below Threshold)
 He's strength is the MURICAH!
  • - 3
 now seriously, the book that spaced wrote about is really good: for those who don't have time to read, and but can listen to something else than music while doing their thing on the computer, here's a good interview with the author:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQoM7_CKsZo
  • + 4
 "It's possible to be successful with only hard work and training, but it's not possible to stay successful with only talent..."

@IH

In Mountain Biking, most probably. In Porn..... not true.
  • + 19
 He's faster than Gee because Gee is too worried about wrecking his pretty face- Gwin is such an ugly bastard a crash might make him look better....
  • + 0
 Sam Hill seems to have had his time being wild and fast and winning everything but something about Gwin just makes you think he is the next evolution in this sport.
  • + 0
 @ Steave - sorry for misquoting you. Still a large %. I just found a correlation between your findings and how Gwin runs his suspension. I would never claim it's only that but given how large the margins are even over the wild riders like Hart bike setup may play a part here. I'm really curious to know what his bike setup for VdS was.

Probably being on a run and mentally being in the zone also helps since he seems to go fast in all sections while other riders often comment about being more cautious on this or that part of the track.
  • + 3
 Being in the zone is overrated as well, or rather information about it is outrageously incomplete, there's plenty of issues and mental skills going into it. You have to be able to get into the zone maaan - yhm. You drop in, few good turns, then one bigger mistake, lost focus and you're off "the zone". It's not something you are after, it's something that just happens when lots of different things click-in right - like ability to cope with mistakes, recognizing mind being distracted, going into judgement mode instead of focusing on next step - knowing how to put the mind on the next step. Every single bit of it has to be practiced and to lots of people I speak with, mental skills in MTB is about sitting on a rock, lean and twist like a loonie visualizing the race run (hm... what do I concentrate on when visualizing, now rock on the left - avoid?)

To me mental skills is a whole another world to be worked on and to my understanding it's as or even more complicated than any technical skill that can be dismantled into specific parts to be worked on separately like let's say braking.
  • + 1
 Have to agree with spaced, the zone thing is no myth. not saying you should aspire to it every time you ride, but those at the top of their game in any sport seem to do this much better than any one else. But really there is no one answer. it is a sum of all the parts talent, discipline, passion, training and don't forget balls of steal. fear makes mistakes.
  • + 1
 Well said nhrider44, you all need to remember Aaron raced Moto cross competitively for years before he started mountain biking. And as I have said here before, NO Dope NO Booze, make for a clear mind! Way to go Gwin
  • + 6
 he only just beat danny hart?
  • + 0
 By the Zone I mean extreme confidence. Not some mythical thing. Was it the book guy who commented a body language expert could spot the top competitors in some sport just by body language?
  • + 2
 keep taking the tablets mate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 2
 I don't think anyone's going to match nico.
  • + 1
 Records created early in the sport are usually extremely hard to beat because with the sport progressing people catch up to each other faster.
  • + 0
 Just as no one is going to match Schumacher - I still prefer Senna Big Grin I think comparisons to old times are plain stupid, those things are uncomparable, different tracks, different bikes under people with different attitude to their training. Yet it is still bloody impressive that Nico came 5th on his one time comeback at histericaly historical first WC in Champery.
  • + 1
 he didn't he was 63th. He qualified 5th.
  • + 0
 Nevermind, the "Talent is overrated" is an amazing book, I am looking for some mental skills training but it is so bloody hard to find anything trustworthy. 99% of the stuff is written like: "How to get there" by "I've never been there". Even meditation, mindfullness - Jon Kabat Zinn, Matthieu Ricard - sweet, but in general it is "how to achieve success in business" mentality infected, deep, wide sea of bullshit.

Anybody having any good tips?
  • + 1
 WAKIdesigns-- what you're talking about is a 'flow' state.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_
  • + 1
 Not really true is it? As the second best rider of that generation has only just dropped out of the top ten. Nico still had a good ten years at the top regardless who joined after him.
  • + 2
 Why on earth would anyone neg prop that. Shame on you neg propper Frown
  • + 3
 I have a good friend who grew up racing moto for 5 years touring the summer amateur circuit nationwide in a winibago til he was about 12. He eventually lost interest and his dad sold his bikes. He was the young kid in the neighborhood and always loved my Dh bikes. So when he was 15 and wanted to ride bikes with my buds, we lent him a hardtail DJer. He had amazing DJ skills out of the gate and NO fear of big jumps. His reason was that he was used to clearing 30 and 40 foot doubles in competition . So when he wanted to ride DH , I found him a used DH bike (GT) on PB . His first weekend out (with his moto helmet on) He was skipping through steep technical DH sections and launching off huge ledge drops that made the older more experience riders wilt and he was talking me through sections that previously had given me pause. Moto had obviously given him control and confidence at greater "scarier" speeds and heights. He was able to manage his fear better than anyone in the group. He (unfortunately) has since lost interest in biking and surfs now. Riding with him made all of us better riders, though.
  • + 0
 ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????!
  • + 36
 He's a motocrosser who places that mentality into bike set up, and that set up involves running stiff suspension. I've been preaching this for many years but most dh'ers run their suspension too soft on rough or steep courses. You look at Gwin - his bike is dancing over the top and not diving into holes. Sure it feels horrible because the only way for your fork to move is if you are really plowing pushing it hard. The other guys' forks are getting swallowed up in the ruts and that in turn costs time. Every single MX racer knows that the more you are pushing it the firmer your suspension should be. Its nice to see that a MTB'er has finally adopted the same mentality. He's also trained by the best coach, John Tomac. The best thing he ever did was to drop that last guy and his whacky ideas.
  • + 2
 While that is technically true, very few people, especially us mortals who don't get paid to train, can physically withstand riding a rough track or trail with super stiff suspension.
  • + 4
 Totally agree, its no coincidence that Eli tomac is amazing too!
  • + 2
 I was never a fast dh racer but one thing that made my speed increase greatly was to stiffen up my fork. I'm not talking about twisting your compression knob all the way, but actually going up a spring rate first. It makes to go hard into stuff because you have to. Big Grin
  • + 17
 Full rigid is the way of the futur!!!!!!!
  • + 0
 Dr. Sanchez is right. I run no sag and no one understands it. It's because when you're pushing it THAT hard, you create sag, in a sense...I love my stiff suspension Smile
  • + 1
 You have to run sag and lots of it. In fact, you can run lots of sag but have your spring rate be very stiff at the same time. Trust, don't mess with sag!
  • + 0
 You are exactly right there. Ive noticed myself since I stiffend my suspenion my times have been faster.
  • + 1
 Dr Sanchez... I read your comment with approving noding unless I came upon last line... Im not sayin J Wilson is the best guy ever but at least he shares his knowledge openly. J Tomac is all good to you, you wont get shit from him. Actualy I train according to James program and no other purchase has ever made so fast... Even hard spring

Now... You know George Carlin? And his classification of people? Stupid, full of sht and nuts. I agree with that, there's lot of true in it. James is often said to
be full of sht, so you better be nuts...
  • - 1
 when a guy openly claims that flat pedals are faster than spd's then he's both nuts and full of shit.
  • + 1
 No he never said that, he said that clipless mask bad skills and flat pedals will increase the chance of getting rid of them, eventually make you a better rider. Some people I know can't even do a bunny hop, they call it to be any lifting of both wheels off the ground. And James is hating mostly on people who tell beginners to clip in what I second. He has nothing to top racers clipping in, as he obviously knows that they have no probs with fundamentals, unlike us. Even Brian Lopes rides flats in off season to cultivate skills, including pedalling...
  • + 1
 oh yes he did, then he went back and erased it and then back-tracked what he said. He directly said that riders had no pedalling advantage riding spd's. He also said that clipped in riders use bad technique and that its impossible to ride spd's like the advantages he claimed flats have (which there are none). Yes you can ride clipped in exactly the same as if you were on flats, but he couldn't see that. One of the dumbest things I have ever heard from an 'educated' person. He even said road racers would benefit from riding flats!!!! hahahaha!

The fact that Gwin went from being a top ten placer to miles ahead of the circuit in one year tells you that its mostly coaching. I would put money down that Tomac is the leading factor in Gwin's success.
  • + 27
 BINGO!

"When you look at Pietermaritzburg back to back with Val di Sole, two completely different tracks, and the number one and two guys are still Greg and Aaron. Any downhiller that's out there that's saying 'Oh, this course doesn't really suit me,' then they're in the wrong sport."

Capt. 23 telling it like it is.
  • + 3
 That quote likely rang loudly to those he was describing...pure genius - way to light that fire, Martin!
  • + 27
 i find it really hard to NOT like this guy. polar opposite of people like gee.
  • + 27
 How come Gwin so fast? Why are rainbows beautiful.....? They just are.
  • + 22
 I am sure his moto back ground helps a lot. Try heaving around a 200lb dirt bike then get on a DH rig, feels like a scooter. You got to have serious bike skills and reaction speeds to ride SX well... has to contribute to flying down a hill on a cycle.
  • + 19
 Gwin is definitely a breath of inspiring fresh air from riders from the past. He's not drinking after his race(Peaty), doing drugs(Palmer) or being a jerk. Just a humble man giving his all to a sport and not taking anything for granted.
  • - 16
flag yeahbro (Jun 12, 2012 at 15:50) (Below Threshold)
 sounds boring
  • + 17
 sounds healthy - healthy wins races
  • + 26
 nothing wrong with some beers, and peat is a legend
  • + 1
 Stella isn't beer- it's rocket fuel! FRDH is bang on!!
  • + 1
 Peaty can drink tho, he's sheffield steel !
  • + 3
 Yeah I suppose he is taking a proper professional attitude to the sport. Still love the amateur side DH has where racers are able to have a few brews and the odd line.
  • + 2
 Who cares what they drink, its upto them, peaty knows and he had a drink due to his injury, so just lay of it !
  • + 21
 Aaron seems like such a nice guy, especially when you compare him to certain other riders on the circuit
  • + 13
 thanks man :')
  • + 3
 Compare to who for example? Smile )
  • + 5
 You're right. Mellow and stable with a grounded outlook. Goes a long way witht the fans. Which after seeing this I am.
  • - 4
flag AlecMann (Jun 13, 2012 at 3:00) (Below Threshold)
 With all these guys saying that "Aaron seems like such a nice guy", Im starting to think you are all gay. Do you hang out with these guys? probably not! So who gives a shit if he is a nice guy? In my eyes he just an amazing rider. If i wanted to date the guy then I would worry about him being a nice guy. Grow some balls.
  • + 4
 ^fancy a bum?
  • + 2
 I'm guessing AlecMann is talking about the strange intrusiveness of people's desire to feel as though they are Gwin's friend merely from being his "fan" or whatever. Hollywood gossip column stuff. Weird to me. But not unlike facebook/twitter connections and externalized (rather than internalized) experience.
  • + 2
 haha, I love how you can say something positive and some tangent gets picked up to twist it around. A person can be an amazing rider and a nice person, and people can comment on it and not be gay all at the same time. If you think that's impossible, then you need to get out more.
  • + 1
 You paranoid, dude? 'Cuz I wasn't talking about your post.
  • + 0
 Dont overanalyze people on the internet, its not cool. Me and Gwin are not friends i was just making an observation.
  • + 1
 @foxtrot - Okay wait, who's talking with who, cuz I wasn't responding to yours? lol, um not paranoid? But pretty sure anyone who's a member can comment on anything they want. Anyways, have fun with the rest of your conversation. Confusion.
  • + 1
 Most threaded discussions I've been in, if you respond directly below a poster it looks like you're responding to that person -- unless you say specifically that you're responding to someone else. Like with an @ or some other sign. Guess that doesn't apply here. My mistake.

I mean it's not like you just used the @ or anything.
  • + 4
 Gwin seems like such a nice guy and Gee has been known to be an ass at times. I think they ride like demons therefore Im a fan of both but because I see so many videos of Gwin being a nice guy on camera that makes him such a such a nice guy off the camera I think I will be more supportive of Gwin. Gwin for the win. On a serious note i like Gwin more than Gee because I think he is a better rider.
  • + 2
 Gees cool i have meet him maybe five times as my friends live near him and at races. Steve peats was a rude when i spoke to him when i was about 9 but i was being an annoying kid. Over all thought the pros are just people like you and me, some of them get along other don't.
  • + 16
 What he doesn't tell you is that he's a robot sent from outer space by an advanced race of beings to destroy all competitors on the DH mtb circuit.
  • + 5
 ... and from the future!
  • + 15
 He just goes for it I guess, got a bit of 6th sense for precision and timing and massive balls!
  • + 15
 He is a distant relative of Chuck Norris..
  • + 0
 Funny...at one point in his interview, I was literally like "he's got the Chuck Norris blood-line". Smile
  • + 7
 He knows what he is good at and rides what he is good at very fast.
At the weekend, he was slower on the top section, slower on the motorway, and slow past us in the woods compared to others (Josh 9s, Gwin >11s on the tricky woods section that caught many out) but at the end of the day, there are other sections where he must be very fast, calculating on what he does and where he does it.
It would not surprise me if he understands his suspension, so when something does not work he knows exactly what to change to sort it out.
Gee struggled in the woods in practice, changes were made to his bike at the bottom, but for the worst, as he was slow through the woods, nearly crashing twice. If he had made the changes on track and pushed back up to test them on that section he may have not last vital time in the woods.
  • + 9
 ...the same reason any athlete is more talented than his or her peers: Jesus.

haha - just kidding. Hard work is the correct answer.
  • + 1
 It worked for Tim Tebow. kinda. Maybe Gwin just needs a 'Gwinning pose'.
  • + 2
 ALL HIAL JEBUS
  • + 7
 It's about DISCIPLINE. I remember an interview with him where he said it has nothing to do with how he races. It is what he does in between races that makes the difference. If you add up the total time spent WC racing, it adds up to about an hour a year. There is 8759 hours left in the year and it's what you do with these hours, when no one is watching, that makes the difference. You got to sleep right, eat right, and train right all those other 8759 hours and that takes DISCIPLINE. Especially in the depths of winter when the race season seems so far away and racing is the last thing on your mind.
  • + 7
 Gwin's secret formula: 1) 'Two-wheel genetics 2) Drug and alcohol free (but does chew it looks like) 3) Spiritual practice 4) Focused training and practice 5) Support (family and team)
It's boring, but it works. For a reality TV show I'd take Ratboy and CG, but I'll take Gwin for the win.
  • + 4
 Nah doesnt chew, he has false teeth so he talks/looks a little funny.
  • + 9
 Gwin is cool as a cucumber, has moto skill and tomac as a trainer.. he wins.
  • + 6
 Yep pretty fast lol..... I think coming off motor cross speeds and having tomac as a trainer plays a part, anyone that's raced desert or rode in the desert here in the sw usually has a fair bit of advantage to start with..... Just a thought...
  • + 8
 definitely a bad ass bike, but it will always be all about the rider. I'm sure he'd smoke most of us down the hill on a hardtail !
  • + 5
 I wish l could be around him for a day just to bathe in his inspiration. Im, mean hes so positive and fearless because he knows everything will work out and be okay no matter the outcome. Its amazing
  • + 6
 its really very simple.. he's fast cos he doesn't use his brakes... hahahaha
  • + 2
 I think Gwin has found a nitch between the old guard and the young up and comers who havnt quite met their full potential. That combined with his drive to win and his training program make for a lot of wins. Though i believe he will remain dominant, I think in a couple of years youre going to see a lot more tough competition. He has elevated the standard for DH and its only natural for the rest of the scene to follow.
  • + 3
 As did Minaar, Hill, Vouilloz, Peat, Tomac, etc. It's a vicious cycle! Smile
  • + 2
 Its quite simple actually, any sport/job/craft is mostly MENTAL, if you got the mental stuff covered then all the rest just follows!, and when a man is that humble and serious then you got the whole package right there!. KEEP KICKING ASS!
  • + 6
 His fast because he has red hair. Red = fast
  • + 2
 Gwin seems to have a composure about himself, read: mental preparation & confidence, that few others seem to be able to attain. How he does it, who knows. But everyone riding at the top of the WC level consistently is immensely skilled and fit - so this is one area where he may have an advantage.

But all it may take is some serious adversity to change that, hopefully not, or maybe he's so mentally tough that it wouldn't matter. Serious adversity did however affect Sam Hill in a significant way during a similar, if not even more impressive, run of dominance...
  • + 3
 i met this guy once and talked to him.all i could say is this guy is the most down to earth athlete ive ever known.gwin is the best athlete inside and out! an inspiration!
  • + 1
 Training and confidence. This is nothing new in the world of moto. Young guys show up all the time and show the old guys how it's done.it was said up top all about the parents commitment to there kid at a young age. Travel around to all the races and support them. Put the time in and hopefully it pays off. For gain it's paying off. Go back intime and look at nico and Sam hill these guys upped the level of the sport leaving everyone scratching there heads and wondering how they could go faster.
  • + 1
 I have a lot of respect for him as a rider. I think his mindset is making the most difference. He's certainly talented and he works hard too. Some people are saying talent is a myth, they're wrong. Just because someone's written a book about it doesn't necessarily make it so. Someone has also written a book called Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars. Is that true?

As for comparing him to some of the greats from other sports, I think that's premature. Certainly he's got the potential to go that way in the next ten years in terms of results, but comparing him to Rossi, Woods or Senna? Not so fast boys! Rossi has nine world titles to his name. How many majors has Woods had in a career spanning about 20 years? Gwin needs to do his time before you start bandying names about.

Say what you like about Palmer, but his image sold bikes. Rossi is the biggest thing to ever happen to two wheeled sports, a PR dream. The most charismatic, the most skillful, quick witted, funny, charming, not ugly. That is what sells bikes and that's what this circus is all about really.
  • + 1
 Race wins alone do not a legend make. Is Schumacher going to be remembered in the same sentence as Senna in 50 years? I doubt it. Sport ignites passion, and passion is what makes you want to buy a bike. Would I buy a Trek because of Gwin? Absolutely not. They are still boring bikes in my eyes and Gwin is cementing that view. I'd buy a Santa Cruz because Peaty is a cool guy and still fast and cool. I'd buy a Giant because Hart rides it like he stole it. I'd buy a Mondraker because Bulldog is a fookin legend.

I'm not bashing Gwin's riding, he is awesome to watch, a real force of nature.

He needs all the help he can get in terms of being marketable though. He should ask Tomac for some tips. How did Litsky manage to convert (!) a puritanical, clean living Lutheran into "The Tomes"? Whatever personality coaching Tomac received, he should school Gwin in the same. When I was watching Tomac when I first got into bikes at age 11, I thought he was the coolest, wildest man alive. I couldn't believe it when I read interviews with him that said he didn't drink or smoke and that he actually prays. Whatever floats your boat, believe in that if you want but that isn't going to ignite the passion of a million race fans the world over. Pulling sick whips and hanging it out (and demonstrating that you are fallible) is how to win an army of fans. Being handsome, charming and witty helps too.

Good luck with it Aaron. I want to like you but you're not making it easy for me!
  • + 1
 What I find most interesting is that 2 seasons ago gwin was just a very good rider. Not phenomenal just very good. He changed teams and started working with Tomac and bang he is suddenly dominating the sport and winning by huge margins. That can't just be coincidence. Natural talent , of course, fitness, absolutely but something just made the difference when he swapped to trek and tomac.
  • + 1
 Interesting reading my comment a year later. Change of team and just as sudden gwin is back down the field. Still phenomenal but not dominating and not even winning races . Meanwhile Gee changes team and steps it up.
  • + 1
 Seems to me the main thing that separates him from the rest is his mental strength. He actually hinted where that comes from in the video and you can see it after his runs when he points to the sky. He believes a god is helping him and that is probably why he is so confident and calm. Lot of moto guys are like that to it seems if you listen to interviews after their races, thanking jesus like hes a sponsor. I don't believe in any of that stuff btw, just an observation.
  • + 1
 It's cyclical like everything else.... Gwin at the top now and possibly for quite a while, then somebody else will come along and wow us just like the others did. Similar to others sports eg.g Bolt, Schumacher, Federer, Messi etc... records will be broken. I think we should enjoy what Gwin brings to the sport. I think it's a combination of talent, hard training, discipline and a desire to push yourself to the limit. All I can say it's just amazing watching these guys take on each other and the circuits.
  • + 2
 Has he had a bad crash yet? most of the top guys have all had injury lay offs over the years,maybe he has n't got that ( ooh that might hurt) thing going on in his head so feels indistructable.
  • + 1
 Actually, during his time racing moto- he had tons of injuries. Bad ones too. That is ONE of the reasons he eventually gave it up. He's taken some good spills in MTB as well. The average fan just doesn't always register how bad the spills are, because he has an ethic that makes him jump back on the bike and gut it out, and often even still make the podium!
  • + 1
 The explanation at its heart is work ethic. The guy is mad fast. Because he wants to be and he knows he can be. I grew up seeing neko mullaly at my local races smashing everyones times and now in this same area there are a whole group of juniors 14 and 15 years old who are finishing only seconds slower than gwin at the US races he is at. I know these young guys and I know how they think that makes them so fast. Its a mind set, set only on winning. Nothing else in the world matters to them.aaron gwin is a perfect example of this at the top level.
  • + 1
 I know Aaron personally, and I can tell you- he cares about a LOT more than winning. It does him an injustice (though I don't think you intended to) to say "nothing else in the world matters to him" but winning. Aaron is a deep dude. MANY things matter more to him than winning. That's one of the secrets to his calm, laid back and humble nature, and it's one of many reasons he's totally OK when things don't go his way on race day. Oh he does want to win- you can be sure of it- but he doesn't let it define his worth as a person. You're right about his work ethic. He's a super focused, hard working guy. He has a respect for the sport, and a respect for his boss (Jesus), that requires him to give it his all, and not take it for granted. Beyond that- the dude is just havin' the time of his life. He loves to ride. Has since he was a toddler. Just something he was born to do.
  • + 5
 AWESOME article from PINKBIKE! Congratulations for THIS!
  • + 1
 It must be frustrating as hell for the other riders and completely rewarding to Gwin. Why is he so fast- perhaps he's never had a bad crash that sticks there in the back of his head telling him to back off just a bit. Certainly, the others having been around much longer all have. It must be his focus - mental training is all that's left when everyone is pretty much equal in fitness and skills.
  • + 1
 Everything has just come together for Gwin. The bike, team, and team manager are a big part of it I reckon. He just seems to have everything dialled, and as he said in the vid, the Val di Sole track suited him perfectly. He seems to handle pressure better than others too. The other top riders just need to get faster, at the moment Gwinny is on another level. Lets be honest, Gwin could win on any track by 8 seconds if it came together like Val di Sole. I never used to like him when he started beating everyone by loads last year, it took the exciting racing away. But I don't mind him now, it's amazing to see a rider smoke the likes of Gee and Minnaar!
  • + 3
 I believe Martin was spot on - every sport has someone who is natural to that sport - the others have to fight like hell just to get up there.
  • + 1
 His analogy of Gwin's Val di Sole run was intriguing - death by a thousand paper-cuts. Well spoken.
  • + 4
 Awesome interviews guys!!! Finally a pinkbike dude who can ask the right questions!! great job guys!
  • + 1
 Martin explained it best. Everything he said makes sense especially the Val de sole race. He made those seconds little by little, little microseconds here and there and eventually it came to about eight seconds.
  • + 4
 The Sebastian Vettel of mountain biking!
  • + 14
 More like Ayrton Senna, just hopefully without the dying part.
  • + 3
 Maybe soon the be the Valentino Rossi? Or Sebastian Loeb?
  • + 1
 EDDY MERCKX!!!
  • + 0
 But even Senna was slow in a slow car... the same POS that killed him. It has to be talent, team and training. In F1 every team that Ross Braun has touched wins. But Michael has not won in slow cars, (at least recently, I didn't follow the Benetton days). That being said, watch the in-car cam vid from a few years ago, VERY smooth steering motion. I mean way less course correction than any other drivers of the day. Talent? Conditioning? Ross Braun's perfect car? I say yes to all 3. It seems that Gwin has the same trifecta going for him as well, just swap the roaring v10(god I miss that sound) for the sound of chain slap and rocks flying
  • + 2
 Lets just say that the point he does up to the sky after he crosses the finish line. Well thats the first sponsor he thanks for a reason. Rep it gwin!
  • + 1
 Bingo, finally the right answer! I had to scroll down this far for someone to say it, even Gwin said it in the interview! No magic here just a little faith. Is that so hard to accept and believe? I do it too. I may not be a world champion but it sure keeps me grounded. A little humility will take you very far in life and Gwin is a good example of it. Amen!
  • + 6
 Disregard starving kids in Africa, make virtually unknown random mtn biker win races. Seems legit.
  • + 2
 ditto joebmx88 from the proselytizing standpoint. If you're an agnostic or atheist it's pretty hard to imagine the ridiculous disparity between helping a DH racer win, and letting all sorts of heinous and cruel things happen to completely innocent beings elsewhere on the planet.

BUT -

if it's meaningful to Gwin why does it matter which religion he chooses, or that he has chosen any religion?

I think what he is likely to get from his religion is a sense of peace about what is within his control and what is not. Some people can achieve that peace without religion or a spiritual perspective. Others use a variety of tools that include myth, legend, fantasy -- why should we care?

I never get the sense that Aaron Gwin is trying to convert people by referring to God. He strikes me as honest and not promoting any religion. He's thanking what and whom he believes he should thank. It's not that different from other riders mentioning coaches, mechanics, sponsors.
  • + 1
 "bikes pretty standard....." ha ha ha!!!! try and pull a mortgage flip and buy one of these standard bikes!!!!
aaron will continue to dominate BECAUSE of his mental approach to racing dh
  • + 2
 +1 for what spaced said. Read the book 'Talent is overrated' by Geoff Colvin. Gives some good insight into what makes an athlete good at his/her sport.
  • + 1
 he reminds me of ricky carmicheal,hope hes not as good thow lol. was hopeing gee atherton could of suffed this dude,,i put his skill down to laroccos leap and campwoodwood dh bmx track, ,and jolly ranchers
  • + 1
 I had that same attitude this weekend at the races and won my first one in 6 years! So the attitude you have toward a race really helps. Also, wasn't Martin the manager of team Honda a few years back?
  • + 1
 He was their manager, indeed.
  • + 2
 I remember spekaing to him last year at fort William such a dead on guy , unbelievably sound .
  • + 1
 So good to see someone like him so humble and still know that at the end of the day its all up to the man upstairs.. Gwinning!!
  • + 3
 Trek World Racing is pure class.
  • + 2
 "Pretty stock bike that anyone can go out there and buy..........if they've got the cash."
  • + 1
 Aaron gwin is a true champion, he transcended from moto-x to DH flawlessly, a true champion, very humble i respect this man he is my hero..
  • + 2
 not to forget subconscious training, imagine blasting your lines while comfortably sitting at your desk.
  • + 3
 No one said it?
Really?

The Force.

DUH!
  • + 2
 Ha, Whitley basically called out Palmer in regards to after parties and being cool. Kick his ass napalm.
  • + 1
 Don't think so dude, it's just normal for some sports until they mature. Not even 30yrs ago in 1980's there were still pro footballers who were casual smokers
  • + 1
 I believe that it is a little, little known (but massively overpriced) reason known as the trek session 9.9... [insert sarcasm for those who don't get it]
  • + 2
 gwin must have hacks on or something, cause no human is capable of his insane speed and dexterity
  • + 1
 holy F dude. was that a red bull ad? how about putting the caffeinated sugar-water helmet in the background next time.
  • + 2
 if i was red bull i'd be very happy because that IS product placement and that's the reason why you sponsor an athlete. good job gwinny for not forgetting to advertise your sponsors! red bull = uci mtb dh coverage FTW!
  • + 2
 Does a Segway count as two wheels ?
  • + 2
 SEcret experiments int Area51!?
  • + 1
 We talked to Monkey at the last race and he said Gwin caught and "rode" a unicorn. that is why he is so fast, lol
  • + 1
 Saving weight by having no teeth and also his gums make everything more aerodynamic.
  • + 1
 He seems to hit corners and berms at the end and uses it as the apex . Great to watch racing and just flat out riding .
  • + 1
 Thank you so much this Pinkbike - it rocked and just made my Wednesday morning! Can't wait for MSA!
  • + 0
 i think it that he ride really stiff suspension so he and pedal harder but he can still control it
  • + 1
 His Trek is a 4 stroke...
  • + 1
 Aaron Gwin is quote " the perfect storm....." awesome!
  • + 1
 So Mr. Gwin believes in divine destiny.
  • + 0
 When i grow up i want to be aaron gwin
  • + 0
 The only explanation I have is that he's a robot.
  • + 0
 gwin is just a better rider then all the rest full stop.
  • + 0
 It's because he rides a trek!
  • + 0
 I think he just rides brake less
  • + 0
 You guys are all so overboard on the 'he's a motocrosser'...
  • + 1
 I'm pretty sure a lot of people will confirm that getting comfortable handling a motocross bike at competitive speeds is a huge bonus for general handling of a DH bike, as well as for getting comfortable at higher speeds than what one normally sees on a bicycle.

The moto experience is especially big and relevant when layered on top of a childhood racing BMX.

It's pretty much an ideal combination for learning the dynamics of handling 2-wheelers.

On that background -- how can it be overplayed? What weight should it be given? Less than you're seeing?
  • + 1
 I see a lot of talk about his moto background and the accolades he received from his MX past...he was not a top amateur racer, just a fast local kid. When I was in scotland there was a lot of chatter about the 'mx champion past gwin had as a kid'. That is all I meant. Sorry for the confusion, or continuing confusion.
  • + 1
 Well that makes sense, it's not good for anyone to overstate something. I'm more used to seeing the understatement. When he first started winning, people would say "he just started riding DH 3 seconds ago and he's already winning World Cups." No mention of a childhood racing BMX and moto. It was like the fans and "journalists" (who can't write worth a crap, it must be said) wanted to bless Gwin as The Golden Child who just looked at a DH bike and suddenly, with no experience, became a World Cup winner.

His youth riding and racing demanding 2-wheelers (BMX and MX motos) explains a lot about how he "suddenly" knew how to ride DH bikes at a good clip. I can't think of a better background. Maybe add alpine ski racing in the winters, focused on GS - SG - DH.
  • + 1
 Reminds me of the days when Tomac was all the rage, "He was a BMX national champion!"...he won some shit in michigan. True there is a long history of racing there, which adds to the ability to quickly adapt to the sport, I just wish there was a little more fact checking with the accolades.

Bottom line is this, its a good time to be a race fan.
  • + 1
 Yeah a VERY good time. I like watching riders who are super-fast and so smooth that they look slow. I always think they have an advanced sense of what is fast. Obviously when they create big gaps they are more comfortable at a speed that others can't yet see.

What I can't tell from the computer screen end of things -- not being there to see practice -- how much of his gaps in speed/time are from his line selection? Is he cagey in practice? Does he race a radically different line than he practices?

He looks so comfortable at that blitzing speed. Definitely reminds me of Sam Hill and of Nico.
  • + 1
 His line selection IS crazy good. It's an instinct. And yes, he IS comfortable at that blitzing speed. He's havin a blast, mainly.
  • + 0
 let go of your brakes, close your eyes and hope for the best.
  • + 0
 seems legit. Im pretty sure i knew a blind DHer before
  • + 0
 the answer is simple, HE'S NOT A HUMAN!!!! i think hes bionic man.... Big Grin
  • + 0
 i heard his used WD-40 on his discs?
  • - 1
 And that 1 second makes all the difference when you want the hotseat
  • + 0
 he forgot ginger power
  • + 0
 Jacked 3-D!!!!
  • - 3
 BORN IN THE U.S.A.
  • + 1
 fag ^
  • + 0
 ^ fat p(_)ssy
  • - 3
 heroin.
  • - 2
 hey it was named for the way it made you feel like you had a hero inside you
  • - 2
 Everyone else is just washed
  • - 7
flag makripper (Jun 12, 2012 at 16:04) (Below Threshold)
 The majority has been in it for way longer. He's filling in a gap, once hart, mdonald and the other young kids find themselves, Gwin's going to be old news.
  • + 3
 Hahaha old news... he will be a legend, he has already won 7 world cup races. Peaty has 17 wins and is at the top of the list, at this rate he'll surpass them in wins by a LARGE margin.
  • + 1
 You say that, but other riders will be forever stepping up their game because Gwin is the new benchmark that riders are setting out to beat.
  • - 2
 I have pure hate toward that thing....
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